Archives for category: Oxford University Press (OUP)

Published by OUP

I always remember this book for three reasons. The first is that it is a very good story – the first that was published by this author. The second reason, because it is about a bird of prey and the third, because the title is a misnomer.

The story is brilliant, so much so I organised for a school to have an event based around the book. I love birds of prey and the book is a superb story about ospreys, and a nest that is found on a farm in Scotland…

When the author came to give her talk – which was filled with natural history and information about how the book came to be written, I asked her about the title. After all the book is about an osprey – an eagle, and not a hawk.

Oxford University Press’ decision to inaccurately (in my view) give the story this title has mystified me ever since. It is a good title. It should not, however, have been given to this book – there are many others it could have had.  So, this book is not about a hawk, it is about an eagle – and children who become bound into its story.

If you think birds of prey are extraordinary creatures or you love birds or wildlife and adventure, then this is the book for you.

Gill Lewis has written quite a number of books for this age group since this came out:

White Dolphin / Moon Bear / Scarlet Ibis / Gorilla Dawn / Sky Dancer (October / Hen Harriers).

 

 

This is a stunningly beautiful slim small volume. It contains a simple tale of a small group of people; adults, children and a dog.  Adrift in the sea in a boat. They don’t have much to share: their stories, a scarf, a scrap of food, the warmth and affection of an animal and a violin. The violinist, who couldn’t leave his instrument behind, plays some music and tells his story and that of the violin in his hands…

This is a book about freedom – hope and bravery.

 

 

 

 

Image result for coyote summer thebo

Published by Oxford University Press

The story of a troubled, young, rich and indulged teenager uprooted from her secure and comfortable life in London and left in the wilds of Kansas on her aunt’s farm. This is a moving, brilliantly written superb tale of growing up, responsibilities and taking on the challenges of disappointment, whilst working towards something important. Life on a Kansas farm is far harder, both physically and mentally than she expects and she is driven to continue her love of dancing out in the wilds, in private, with just a coyote looking on. Dancers should definitely read this…

It is a wonderful book, something for the Summer holidays and one to disappear into – I think it is better than her first book, Dreaming the Bear which is always a very good sign – and something that really pleases me too, it has the right ending – buy it.

On searching the Internet for photographs of the cover, it seems there was a film also called Coyote Summer, released in 1996

This looks to be a better story – I haven’t seen the film though!

Published by Oxford University Press

There seems to be a herd of good adventure stories that have recently been published or are about to be – this is one of them. This is a piratical adventure set on pirate ships floating in the sky…with a land mass beneath. Full of swashbuckling energy, with wonderful characters and a brilliant plot too.

I’d like to make a boxed set of good adventure books for this age group –

The Huntress: Sea / Sarah Driver,

Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake / Rob Lloyd Jones,

The Demon Undertaker  / Cameron McAllister,

A Very Good Chance / Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Black Powder / Ally Sherrick,

Fenn Halflin & the Fearzero / Francesca Armour-Chelu  &

Cloud Hunters / Alex Shearer (which sadly I read before I started this blog, and so has lost out a bit) to name but a few – its a good time for adventure.

This centres around Zoya – smuggled onto a pirate ship; however, things are nothing like they seem and the story becomes a whirlwind of a tale of fights, raids, islands in the sky, treasure, evil pirates (yes, it seems there are some good pirates out there as well as those good old-fashioned bad characters), friendship, bravery and family

Its superb…Enjoy it!

Published by Oxford University Press

Well done Oxford! This is a lovely book about a young boy and his brother. All brothers have their irritations and Arthur’s brother seems to be one big one. He sometimes struggles with day to day things. He doesn’t like crowds, change, loud noises and headphones… In desperation and in the hope of making his parents notice him, Arthur decides the only thing to do is to leave home…

‘Arthur rushed up to his room, searched under his bed for his survival tin, and stuffed his lucky crystal into his coat pocket. Then he crashed down the stairs and flung open the front door. He barged past the polar bear who was standing on the doorstep and hurtled off down the street, running as fast as he could. He wanted to get as far away from his house, his brother and his stupid parents as possible. He wasn’t going to let a polar bear or anything else stop him.’

This is a gorgeous small volume about siblings, parents, football, the world cup and of course polar bears, and one in particular.

It is not ‘out’ yet – due to be published next month with what looks to be some lovely line drawings (incomplete at the moment in proof form) – a book for everyone with a sibling…

Published by Oxford University Press

How can I not have written a post about Olga Da Polga in my blog before now? Unbelievable!

Not including the Sawdust family, (the family in these stories), these charming stories are about a very opinionated guinea-pig, her friends Noel the cat,  Graham the tortoise, Fangio an hedgehog, Fircone & Raisin, (Karen Sawdust’s two hamsters), Venables,  a toad who lives in the Sawdust family’s garden and of course Boris, Olga Da Polga’s boy-friend.

Olga’s is a very self possessed guinea-pig and believes she knows everything there is to know about a wide range of subjects. It is important for her to make sure that she is the centre of attention, to make everything exciting and to ensure that everyone (particularly Noel the cat), knows how vital she is in the great scheme of things and to this end she has the habit of exaggerating, just a little.

Her exaggerations get her into various scrapes, some more serious than others; once resulting in her escaping her run to go with Fangio to the local dump, and then there was the time when she fell, and couldn’t move. When life gets a little out of hand, and to attract attention Olga has a habit of making her views known by squealing very loudly – Wheeeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeee! Wheeeeeeee!

In all the titles are: The Tales of Olga Da Polga, Olga Meets her Match, Olga Carries On, Olga Takes Charge, Olga Moves House and Olga Follows her Nose.There are also various compilations.

These books are suitable as stories to be read allowed, are particularly good for bed-time (each chapter is a separate story), and are well written – as one might expect from Michael Bond. They are also good for those who are becoming ‘fluent’ as they say with their reading…Though, to have the best experience of Olga, they should be read allowed, with the recipient of the story tucked under and arm. When read allowed, her squeals should be made loud and with as much intonation as possible.

These stories are superb – and as a result of Olga’s propensity for squealing…and are, therefore, almost interactive too!

They have recently produced a coloured editions of The Tales of O da P – when I grew up they were only in black and white and in paperback. The new illustrations by Catherine Rayner are perfect – though I still love the originals…too!

Enjoy them!

Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

 

The Shapeshifter: Finding the Fox

Published by Oxford University Press

I have recently been sent a copy of this book, which was first published in 2006 – a decade ago. It won the Blue Peter Award back in 2010 too.

I remember it being published and also not picking it up to read it for some reason I can’t remember. Embarrassingly it was probably because of the cover, which didn’t entice me. the-shapeshifter-finding-the-foxTen years ago I hadn’t worked out that covers, which can be such a positive addition to a volume can also be misleading.

I really regret not reading this before – it’s wonderful.

This is the story of Dax Jones who at the start of the story is living with an overbearing and rather unpleasant step-mother whilst his father works on the oil rigs. School is as much about avoiding the bullies as a place to learn.

fox-imageWhen he is cornered, frightened and angry, he feels himself changing and things are different for him from then on. As the title indicates Dax is a shapeshifter and finds himself running on four legs, his eyes spotting things in great detail and his nose full of the environment through which he is moving.

The story develops quickly, is full of adventure and is superb – I am really enjoying it. This is another I have decided to review before it is finished. I keep picking it up when I should be doing something else. Any excuse will do.

Oxford University Press sent me this copy as they are going to republish the series with a new cover. The reprint of this volume (the first of five in the series) comes out on the 5th of May – in three days. The picture of the cover, at the start of this post is that of this new edition. The smaller shows the old edition of the books: Finding the Fox, Running the Risk, Going to Ground, Dowsing the Dead, and Stirring the Storm.

 

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Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to post – June 2016

This story is about overcoming the odds when they are stacked against you. Finding friends in unexpected places and about wildlife and the environment.

There are some lovely descriptive passages about water-boatmen, snails and deer – in fact the natural history passages bring these elements beautifully to life, and add another strain of colour to the book. It is an impassioned plea for all things wild, both creature and environment. The end of the book is deep and touching –

A book for people who care. It is, perhaps, a book of hope.

 

 

9780192745545Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to press: March 2016

Really a book for those who are beginning to be confident with their reading. A magical tale of two siblings who arriving at their new house are sent out to explore and find a railway at the bottom of the garden. On that really isn’t there, except it is.

A new way to a new world – instead of a wardrobe, a workshop at the end of the garden pulls them into a world of magic and danger. There is always the possibility they might not manage to return in time for fish fingers.

The responsibilities of an older brother are such that though Leo thinks some of what Ella gets up to are perhaps unwise, what is an elder brother to do, but to follow on behind and make sure things don’t go horribly wrong…

I’m afraid I don’t think the cover is inspiring – which is a pity; there is more to this book than this implies, and sometimes it really is the cover of a book that sells it to new readers…and perhaps persuades them to try something new…

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Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet Published at time of going to Post – Early February 2016

This volume seemed to come from the same mini genre as My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (see post on this blog) that was published a few months ago.

It was great fun, and had the feel of a Saturday night’s fantasy film, not least as it is partially a graphic novel as well as straight prose, which works very well. A light, but fun read…  Cathy Brett’s illustrations are just right and add a little edge to the story.